Versatile job with international outlook
Nanna Feldborg Mortensen works in clinical development at Novo Nordisk A/S. Nanna has a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Southern Denmark and earned her MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2008.
I got my job five days before I got my master’s degree – and now I’m part of the Global Development Graduate Programme here at Novo Nordisk. The company encourages selected natural science graduate students to take a two-year position that will guide them through all of the stages of the long process involved in developing a new drug.
Direct access to industry
I wanted a master’s programme that would provide direct access to the drug industry, so I moved to Copenhagen to study at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
My starting point was the Drug Discovery line, but I also took many elective courses from the Medicines and Society line. The programme is so flexible that you can combine elements from various disciplines.
I was crazy about long-haired science, basic research and laboratory work – but I also wanted to work with clinical development. Today I have my spotlight on phase 1 studies, a relatively early stage of the drug development process, but where there is still room for surprises.
World traveller in clinical studies
During my two years as a Graduate here in the company, I rotated between various departments. The first eight months I worked in Regulatory Affairs here in Copenhagen, and in 2009 I spent seven months with a subsidiary in the USA. I was a local trial manager, the title for someone in charge of a clinical trial for a selected drug. Now I’m back in Denmark working with international trial management – and have just returned from a short trip to Hong Kong, where I monitored and advised on a large clinical study.
"At the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences you are in close contact with reality and it is my impression that drug industry management values graduates in pharmaceutical sciences precisely because their education is targeted at a career in the pharmaceutical industry.
The programme will prepare me for a position as an international trial manager based in Denmark. I’ll be monitoring and coordinating clinical studies all over the world. The position means a certain amount of travel, which suits me fine.
I’ll also meet many different people and communicate worldwide. There are a variety of nationalities at my workplace, so globalisation goes on in house, you might say. In the long-term I would like to be more involved with strategic management regarding future drug development.
I wrote my thesis on haemostasis pharmacology in cooperation with Novo Nordisk. My project was to describe a new animal model for research in a specific type of haemophilia.
I work in a completely different area now, but it has been a big advantage for me to get to know the company so well. I was able to establish a good network with managers and colleagues already while I was a student. At the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences you are in close contact with reality and it is my impression that drug industry management values graduates in pharmaceutical sciences precisely because their education is targeted at a career in the pharmaceutical industry.